Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label: What They Are & How You Can Help Make Them Happen

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You may have heard that the FDA recently proposed some big changes to the Nutrition Facts label, changes the organization is hoping will help people better understand the food they are eating, especially when it comes to portion sizes and calories. Here's a breakdown of what the new label will look like — and if you support it, what you can do to help make it a reality.

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The current label on the left and proposed new label on the right

The changes include:

  • Listing calories in bigger and bolder type.
  • Listing the number of servings more prominently. In addition, “Amount Per Serving,” would include the actual serving size, such as “Amount per 1 cup.”
  • Including the amount of added sugars. According to the FDA, Americans currently consume 16 percent of their calories through added sugars in sodas, sports drinks, sweetened yogurt, cereals, and many other foods.
  • Removing "Calories from Fat." "We know that the type of fat is more important than the total amount of fat," says Claudine Kavanaugh, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., a health scientist at the FDA.
  • Moving the % Daily Values to the left side of the label, to make it easier for consumers to quickly scan.
  • No longer requiring % Daily Values for Vitamin A and C, but now including % DV for Vitamin D and potassium. These changes are based on evidence that Vitamin D and potassium may play a role in the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and that Americans are not consuming adequate amounts of either nutrient.

In addition, the FDA has proposed updating serving size requirements to reflect what people actually eat, rather than what they should be eating, and updating the Daily Values for various nutrients, including fiber and calcium.

The FDA is currently looking for public comments on the proposed changes, so if you are interested in making this food label a reality, submit a comment before the deadline on June 2, 2014.

What do you think about these proposed changes? Any other changes to the Nutrition Facts label that you'd like to see?

(Image credits: Christophe Testi/Shutterstock; U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

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